No. 17 Women’s Hoops Meets No. 3 St. Thomas Wednesday For Matchup Of Unbeatens

Posted on January 31st, 2017 by

Gustavus vs. St. Thomas
Date: Wednesday, February 1
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: St. Peter, Minn. | Gus Young Court
Live Coverage: Stats | Video | 95.5 FM KCHK

GAME NOTES

ST. PETER, Minn. – The No. 17/21-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College women’s basketball team is set to host the No. 3/4-ranked University of St. Thomas Wednesday evening. The matchup brings together two unbeaten teams with the 19-0 (12-0 MIAC) Gusties and the 18-0 (12-0 MIAC) Tommies.

In her 19th season as a head coach and fifth year at Gustavus, Laurie Kelly has led the Gusties to a program record season. Wednesday marks a special game as she faces her alma mater as a ’93 graduate of the University of St. Thomas in search of her 300th all-time win as a head coach.

Coach Kelly (photo credit: Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com)

“You play 18 conferences games, they all count the same,” said Kelly. “Obviously we know there is a lot on the line, and so does St. Thomas. It’s exciting to be able to put yourself in this situation, I’m really proud of our team.”

St. Thomas, the back-to-back and 15-time Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions, have defeated the Gusties in 16-straight meetings. Coach Kelly has yet to defeat her alma mater in her four seasons with the last Gustie win coming during the 2009-10 season when Gustavus won by a score of 66-56 on Feb. 18, 2010 at Gus Young Court.

“St. Thomas has been in this situation before,” Kelly commented. “They’re veteran and they’ve won championships. This is new territory for us. Going into the game, I feel like this is probably the first game that we’re probably underdogs. If you hope to have postseason play and move on, these are the types of teams you have to compete with. We have prepared the same way and we’re excited about the game. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd of people to see two quality basketball teams play.”

Senior captain Hannah Howard (St. Paul, Minn.) credits the team chemistry toward this season’s success.

“We all get along really well,” said Howard. “A lot of us have played together for three years now. I think we have a lot of hard-working, trustworthy, and really good girls. When you have a good group of girls like that, it is easy to get along and have fun. That is something that we do well, we have fun and joke so it makes things a lot easier.”

Being the most experienced player on the Gustavus roster, Howard has accumulated nearly 100 games played in Black and Gold and is excited to be leading a program-best winning team in her final season.

“I have been waiting for a season like this for a long time,” Howard mentioned. “To be on a winning team and be playing so well has been really fun. In my four years, we haven’t beaten St. Thomas. It is a game that is definitely exciting with a lot of nerves. For me at this point, I am ready and I want to beat them. I think it is going to be a good game but we just have to keep playing like we have been. If we show up and play Gustavus basketball the way we have been, we can definitely win. We are treating it like any other game and preparing the same way.”

GUSTAVUS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PAGE | ST. THOMAS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PAGE

Last time out: Gustavus most recently earned its programs record 19th win of the season Saturday afternoon, defeating Saint Mary’s University by a score of 71-44. The Gusties were led by an 18-point performance from Miranda Rice (Jr., Forest Lake, Minn.) and a career-high 17 points from Brooke Lemke (So., Delano, Minn.).

In the polls: The Gusties moved up in the most recent Division III National rankings. In the D3hoops.com poll, Gustavus moved up from No. 19 to No. 17, while also moving up to No. 21 from No. 22 in the WBCA Coaches Poll.

Among the National Leaders: Out of 440 teams in NCAA Division III women’s basketball, Gustavus sits at or near the top in multiple statistical rankings. The 100.0 percent winning percentage is tied for first, 46.9 field goal percentage ranks second, and the 77.9 free throw percentage ranks fifth.

The Series: Wednesday’s contest marks the 79th all-time meeting between Gustavus and St. Thomas with the Tommies holding a 55-23 record over the Gusties. Last season, Gustavus lost twice against St. Thomas, most recently falling by a score of 75-67 in St. Peter. The Gusties last win against the Tommies came during the 2009-10 season. Gustavus defeated St. Thomas by a score of 66-56 on Feb. 18, 2010 at Gus Young Court.

Scouting the Tommies: The University of St. Thomas has an undefeated record of 18-0 while going 12-0 in the MIAC. The Tommies average 74.9 points per game with a league-best 41 rebounds per game and most recently defeated Saint Benedict by a score of 65- 40 over the weekend. Senior center Kaitlin Langer leads the Tommies and is the MIAC leading scorer, averaging 19.3 points per game.

Gustavus notables:

– The Gusties’ 19-0 start continues as the best start and win-streak in program history. The 2002-03 Gustavus squad previously held the record, beginning the season with a 13-0 record.

– Head Coach Laurie Kelly is one win away from her 300th all-time win as a head coach. Kelly is in her 19th season as a head coach, her fifth with Gustavus.

– Brooke Lemke recorded a career-high 17-point performance Saturday versus Saint Mary’s.

Mikayla Miller (Jr., Goodhue, Minn.) continues to lead the Gusties, averaging 17.6 points per game – which ranks second highest in the MIAC.

– Miranda Rice ranks third behind Miller in the MIAC, averaging 17.1 points per game. Rice also ranks second in the MIAC with a 60.4 field goal percentage.

Hannah Howard (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) also ranks among the top-five shooters in the MIAC with a 55.6 field goal percentage.

Justine Lee (So., Dawson, Minn.) leads Gustavus from beyond the arc. From three-point range, Lee is 21-for-51 (41.2%) to rank fifth best in the MIAC.

– Gustavus ranks first in the MIAC in points per game (75.1), field goal percentage (53.7), free throw percentage (77.9), assists per game (17.9), and steals per game (12.6).

 

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